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PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2010 May 18;4(5):e689. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000689.

IL-4Ralpha-independent expression of mannose receptor and Ym1 by macrophages depends on their IL-10 responsiveness.

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International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa.


IL-4Ralpha-dependent responses are essential for granuloma formation and host survival during acute schistosomiasis. Previously, we demonstrated that mice deficient for macrophage-specific IL-4Ralpha (LysM(cre)Il4ra(-/lox)) developed increased hepatotoxicity and gut inflammation; whereas inflammation was restricted to the liver of mice lacking T cell-specific IL-4Ralpha expression (iLck(cre)Il4ra(-/lox)). In the study presented here we further investigated their role in liver granulomatous inflammation. Frequencies and numbers of macrophage, lymphocyte or granulocyte populations, as well as Th1/Th2 cytokine responses were similar in Schistosoma mansoni-infected LysM(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) liver granulomas, when compared to Il4ra(-/lox) control mice. In contrast, a shift to Th1 responses with high IFN-gamma and low IL-4, IL-10 and IL-13 was observed in the severely disrupted granulomas of iLck(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) and Il4ra(-/-) mice. As expected, alternative macrophage activation was reduced in both LysM(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) and iLck(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) granulomas with low arginase 1 and heightened nitric oxide synthase RNA expression in granuloma macrophages of both mouse strains. Interestingly, a discrete subpopulation of SSC(high)CD11b+I-A/I-E(high)CD204+ macrophages retained expression of mannose receptor (MMR) and Ym1 in LysM(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) but not in iLck(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) granulomas. While aaMphi were in close proximity to the parasite eggs in Il4ra(-/lox) control mice, MMR+Ym1+ macrophages in LysM(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) mice were restricted to the periphery of the granuloma, indicating that they might have different functions. In vivo IL-10 neutralisation resulted in the disappearance of MMR+Ym1+ macrophages in LysM(cre)Il4ra(-/lox) mice. Together, these results show that IL-4Ralpha-responsive T cells are essential to drive alternative macrophage activation and to control granulomatous inflammation in the liver. The data further suggest that in the absence of macrophage-specific IL-4Ralpha signalling, IL-10 is able to drive mannose receptor- and Ym1-positive macrophages, associated with control of hepatic granulomatous inflammation.

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